In "Romeo and Juliet" of what use are the things in the Friar's basket?  

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Shakespeare's portrayal of Friar Lawrence in "Romeo and Juliet" is often a depiction of the corruption in the Catholic Church.  For, the ordained "man of God" takes several decisions upon himself that are contrary to doctrine.  For one thing, he delves in herbs and chemistry, which at the time, would not be an area in which a priest should be experimenting. To connote this "straying from the faith" Shakespeare has the good friar commenting in pagan faship upon the morning

From forth day's path and Titan's fiery wheels,/Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye, (II,iii,4-5)

In his basket, the priest has herbs and poison weed.  The friar exclaims,

Oh, mickle is the powerful grace that lies/In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities (II,iii,8-9).

Interestingly, it is with these items in his basket that the friar conjures a magical potion that causes Juliet to seem dead for a time; it is with these herbs and "poisons" that the friar would play God and alter the course of events.



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Romeo and Juliet

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